September 16, 2010 - On Tuesday, September 14th a state appeals court in Rochester lifted a temporary order that blocked New York State from collecting taxes on reservation cigarettes sold to non-native customers.
The five judge panel ruled the state can begin collecting a four dollar and 35 cent tax on every pack of cigarettes sold by Indian nations across the state with the exception of the Cayugas and the Senecas.
Collection on sales on the reservations of those two nations cannot start until at least September 28th, when a temporary restraining order on the tax imposed by a federal judge expires.
A federal judge in Buffalo has already temporarily blocked tax collections. (New York State - U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara extends order blocking state from collecting taxes, hearing Sept 14th..) The Seneca Indian nation and the state were in federal court in Buffalo Tuesday, September 14th for a hearing on the case.
The issue of state tax collection proved to be one of the central points during more than two hours of testimony given Tuesday morning, September 14th by Robert Porter, Seneca Nation senior policy advisor before U.S. Federal Court Judge Richard Arcara.
Porter is the first of seven witnesses the Seneca Nation and New York state are expected to call during the next few days.
References: VIDEO - Court clears way for Indian cigarette tax on all but Seneca, Cayuga sales by: YNN (Your News Now) Staff, 9/14/2010; Senecas, NYS resume smoke tax fight (in federal court) by James Fink, Business First of Buffalo, 9/14/2010.
Some related news briefs:
New York State - U.S. District Judge extends order blocking state from collecting taxes, hearing Sept 14th..;
New York State - cigarette tax collection from Native American sales pushed off until 5-judge panel decides..;
New York State - Seneca Nation and other Indian Tribes get injunction from federal judge delaying tax collection on cigarettes..;
New York State - Governor Patterson will not tax cigarettes sold among Native Americans..;
New York - Senecas asking for Bloomberg to resign over remarks he made..;
New York State - Seneca Indian Nation files sued to block enforcement of a plan to collect cigarette taxes..;